You don’t have to play poker for very long to realise the importance of a player’s position at a poker table. A late position will give you an advantage, since you’ll get to act after everyone else has.
On the other hand, an early position might seal your hand’s fate before the later streets arrive, since everyone else at the table will act after you do.
The Under the Gun (UTG) position is the perfect example of the latter category — one of the earliest positions possible in a poker game.
WHAT DOES UNDER THE GUN MEAN IN POKER?
In this post, we’ll analyse the poker position called ‘Under the Gun’, which is located to the immediate left of the big blind. The Under the Gun player is the one who acts first in the pre-flop betting round.
In a Texas hold’em or Omaha game, the UTG placement is preceded by the big blind and the small blind — in that order.
Therefore, the UTG player will be the first to act after the blind positions, heavily influencing a player’s ability to play hands to the best of their potential.
ADVANTAGES OF UNDER THE GUN POSITION
This position isn’t the most ideal one to be in when playing flop games, but it is far from the worst position possible. The key is to put this position to your advantage — here’s how.
- Very possible to steal blinds – Seeing as the UTG player is the first player to act before the flop, they are at liberty to pressure the blinds into folding by making a large bet.
- Allows for great aggressive play – Albeit risky, making an aggressive bet might win you the pot before things really kick off. Admittedly, this is harder to do if many players are playing, such as at a nine-handed table.
- The position gets better postflop – Although the placement will still be relatively early after the flop, it won’t be as taxing as pre-flop (as long as the blind positions remain active in the game).
DISADVANTAGES OF THE UNDER THE GUN POSITION
There’s no hiding the fact that the UTG position is more of a disadvantage than it is an advantage. Here are some of the reasons why this is the case.
- There’s no information available – With no information available with regard to the strength or weakness of other players’ hands, the UTG player is somewhat blindfolded when acting.
- Liable to having your bets and raises either re-raised or folded – The best position in the game is the last, since you’ll get to act after everyone else. The UTG position is not necessarily the worst one, but it comes close to that pre-flop. This is mostly because your action can easily be undone by players acting after you; for example, by another player placing a raise after your check.
UNDER THE GUN STRATEGY
If you’ve spent any time lurking around poker strategy websites, you definitely know that there is a strategy for every poker table, position and hand in the game — the UTG placement is no exception.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you deal with this position better.
- Play tighter – Playing a very tight range of hands would be the optimum strategy to use if you’re UTG. Playing weak hands is a quick way of losing chips, considering the early position.
- Opt for aggressive actions – Betting aggressively (but always within reason) can heavily influence your image at the table, especially given the position.
- Steal blinds – As we’ve mentioned above, stealing the small and big blind is a very worthwhile option. With that said, expecting players to fold might not always bear fruit.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM PLAYERS IN THE UNDER THE GUN POSITION?
This is a very complicated question to answer. If you’ve just started playing poker, we’d advise you to keep an eye on the UTG player and examine their moves.
Piecing together this information might help you make some tells here and there, but your success will vary, of course.
Another important thing to be said about is that the significance of the UTG placement will vary from game to game. Player behaviour in tournaments is known to differ from regular poker games, so keep that in mind when you play poker tournaments.
BEST PREFLOPS FOR UNDER THE GUN POSITION
Seeing as we recommend playing a tighter range of hands when UTG, we thought that it would be a good idea to list the best preflops possible.
- A – J or better
- Q – J or better
- Pair of J
- Pair of 10
Every tight range listed above stands a good chance of making it to the river, unless having to fold to other aggressive players. Worse hands than the aforementioned ones are very likely to lose out as a result of the bad UTG placement.
UTG is not a desirable position to be in, seeing as all the other players will get to act after you before the flop. This isn’t as taxing afterwards, as long as the blind positions are still active.
Nevertheless, the UTG placement is only temporary, so it might be worth sitting it out unless you’re dealt a monster.
⭐ WHY IS IT CALLED UNDER THE GUN POKER?
The term refers to the first position at the table, following the big and small blind. It is called that way owing to the pressure players in this position face to act before everyone else.
⭐ WHAT IS UNDER THE GUN +2 IN POKER?
The UTG +2 refers to two positions following the UTG placement.
⭐ WHAT HAND DO YOU RAISE UNDER A GUN?
Hands such as a Jack pairs or better can definitely be raised in this position. Anything less will stand the chance of losing out.